No rom-com “Reservations”? Actually, I have a few

There’s something wrong with my movie math. For weeks now, I’ve been thinking the following equation was golden:

(Zeta-Jones + Breslin + Clarkson) x Frothy Food Comedy =
Pretty Good Film

But now that I’ve seen the trailer for No Reservations (after the cut), I’m not so sure. I adore Catherine Zeta-Jones and Patricia Clarkson — generally, they can do no wrong in my eyes, although in Zeta-Jones’ case I have to force myself to overlook her revolting husband, Michael Douglas. And Abigail Breslin isn’t just adorable: The kid’s got talent. Plus there’s the remake factor; it seemed like the original German film, Mostly Martha, might translate pretty well to Hollywood. But clearly there’s a flaw in my logic, because No Reservations just doesn’t look very good.

Maybe Aaron Eckhart is my problem. I will always think of him as the misogynist sleaze from In the Company of Men. And his hair looks weird in the trailer. Couldn’t the role have gone to someone else in the quirky-yet-appealing crowd, like Peter Krause or Martin Donovan? It’s like trying to see Peter Sarsgaard as a romantic lead after his horrifying turn in Boys Don’t Cry.

Or maybe there’s a bigger chunk missing from my equation: My willingness to buy into heterosexual romantic comedies.

I used to be able to see their charm, and sometimes I could even imagine the couple as two women, if I squinted hard enough. (This was much easier with John Hughes movies, thanks to those pretty ’80s boys like Andrew McCarthy and Judd Nelson.) But I guess I no longer have that mind-over-movie power. (And Andrew no longer looks so pretty.)

I blame it all on Imagine Me and You. Damn that film for taking the romantic comedy formula and tweaking it just enough so that the girl gets the girl in the end.

I’ll never recover. And I probably won’t see No Reservations until it hits cable. Sorry, Mrs. Douglas.

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